For religious services, weddings, and funerals

These guidelines are based on recommendations from the CDC, to help communities of faith continue their mission while keeping their staff and congregations safe, and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

General Guidance

  • Consider holding services and gatherings in a large, well-ventilated area or outdoors.
  • Offer multiple services to encourage a greater chance of social distancing.
    • The facility should be cleaned between services, in accordance with CDC cleaning and disinfection guidance.
  • Post signs at entrances asking sick people not to enter the building.
  • Screen members for symptoms prior to service. Anyone with those symptoms must stay home.
  • Ensure doors are propped open or have greeters hold them open until service begins and when it ends.
  • Continue to post signs encouraging hand washing and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes).
  • Encourage staff and congregants who are at higher risk for severe illness to participate virtually, if possible.
  • Consider temporarily removing frequently touched/shared objects. Encourage congregants to bring their own worship aids such as: prayer books, hymnals, religious texts and other bulletins, or other items commonly passed or shared among congregants.
  • Consider a stationary collection box, the mail, or electronic methods of collecting regular financial contributions instead of shared collection trays.
  • Postpone or cancel trips that could expose staff, volunteers, or members to potential community spread of COVID-19. Persons returning from travel to areas with community spread of COVID-19 must follow the guidance they have received from health officials.

Physical Distancing Guidance

  • Practice physical distancing of 6 feet in all areas.
  • Designate one-way traffic within the building.
  • Post signs with clear instructions of steps employees and patrons should take to maintain social distancing.
    • Block off areas or tape off areas in all rooms to ensure 6 feet of physical distancing.
  • Encourage non-contact greetings, such as nodding, bowing or waving. Avoid holding or shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.
  • When physical distancing is not feasible, encourage the use of face coverings among unvaccinated individuals.
  • Ensure proper spacing between attendees:
    • Keep at least two empty seats (or six feet separation) between parties in any row, except as follows:
      • Two or more members of the same household can sit adjacent to one another, with two seats (or six feet separation) empty on either side.
      • Two individuals who are not members of the same household but who are attending together can sit adjacent to one another, with two seats (or six feet separation) empty on either side.
    • Alternate rows between attendees (every other row left empty). Or remove pews or seating to ensure distancing.
  • Consider suspending choirs / musical ensembles or limiting the number of members to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Limit the gathering size in Sunday school/small groups/daycare
    • Designate a drop-off/ pick up area for children, where only the teacher or leader is taking them to the classroom

Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance

  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting should be done between each service (e.g. chairs, pews, restrooms, music stands, microphones, drums, pianos/organs, headphones, etc.) as well as high touch surfaces (e.g. tables, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, doorknobs, etc.)
  • Encourage everyone to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Ensure adequate supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices.
  • Have hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.

Employee Health Guidance (Staff)

  • Health screen staff upon arrival:
    • Self-monitor for signs/symptoms of COVID-19
    • Design a protocol for reporting self-monitoring before beginning a shift.
    • Consider the use of touchless infrared thermometers to check the temperature of each staff member before service.
    • If an employee is ill, require them to return home and stay home if they are sick.
  • Discourage the sharing of tools/equipment and workstations/areas between staff.
  • Avoid passing around a microphone or assign microphones to specific people.
  • Do not share choir robes. Robes should be cleaned after each use.
  • Implement flexible sick leave and related flexible policies and practices for staff.
  • Stagger shifts for the AV/Tech teams.

 

Additional Resources